Busy Sail

Dolphins are mysterious because they are unpredictable. Sometimes during the summer we’ll go five or six days without a trace. Then we’ll see one or two dolphins briefly. One person sees them, but not the others. So naturally we kid the person that she was imagining it.

DolphinsOn this day in a light wind, we saw a few dolphins on the north side of the Coleman Bridge. Then they grew to a dozen or more, and they were tracking the boat on both sides and astern. I thought it might be the music, and I got the dolphin bell to ring because they seem to like that.

Then it hit me. They were congregating because we had a dog onboard. Will and Deb Smith of Goldsboro NC brought their old beagle Skittles with them, and by now he was fast asleep and snoring. Somehow the dolphins were attempting to protect the dog from whatever adversity they perceived. A few even slapped their fins close to the hull, which is dolphin-speak for talking. They ran with us for 25 minutes and followed the boat when we turned around. So it was definitely Skittles.


Women enjoy sailing today more than ever, and particularly a romantic cruise. Couples get to enjoy a romantic getaway as they sit up on the bow for privacy, and Let’s Go Sail provides professional photos for free. First-time or skilled mariners are welcome to sail a modern-32-foot sailboat in a unique setting of wildlife and Fall foliage or Spring bloom. It makes for an extraordinary anniversary idea. 

Toilet SailToilet Sail

Of all the ridiculous sailing stories, this tops the list. John and Sharon Ferry were visiting Williamsburg with their nine-year-old granddaughter when the opted to go out with Let’s Go Sail. We had brisk winds and cooler temperatures, and best of all we saw dolphins.

Toilet SailLittle Vivian rang our Dolphin Bell repeatedly to attract them to the surface – and it worked.

On the way back to port, I cautioned John to avoid the shoal off Little England by following the last two channel markers correctly. He pointed to a PVC pipe at the shoal and asked about it. I explained that it was local custom for Good Samaritan mariners to cement a pipe into a cinderblock and drop it in place as an extra caution of low water.

Toilet Sail

“I thought so!” he exclaimed. “They did that in the Florida Keys and someone attached a toilet seat to add emphasis. Then other people added other toilet seats on plastic pipes, and now it’s a thing. It’s in a channel near Islamorada, in the middle of the Keys. It’s called Toilet Seat Cut.”

Great Lakes Sailing

Chicago SailEarlier that day, Bob and Liz Laidlaw joined four others as we zipped down the York toward the edge of Chesapeake Bay. “I used to sail with my first husband, who was a crazy guy. He sailed 14 weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We sailed in the Chicago-to-Mackinac race, which is 330 miles and takes 3 days and nights. It’s very grueling. I would provision the boat with sandwiches even if I wasn’t going. Once, anticipating they might run into trouble and not have time to make their own meals, I packed a 5-lb. can of cooked ham for them to figure out. Later, someone found it onboard and threw it overboard as extra weight.”

Chicago SailWhat about storms on the Great Lakes? “The worst was when we were coming back into Chicago. I felt a warm rush of air on my face, as if I had just opened the oven door. I suggested to the crew, ‘Gentlemen, I think we should get prepared for what’s coming,’ but they ignored me. Then I saw a red line on the horizon and knew we were in for it. We reefed the sails and battened down. The storm lasted two hours and the waves grew to eight feet. It was hell.

“When we finally made it back, I jumped into a taxi and found my cigarettes in my gear, the only thing that was still dry. I gratefully lighted up without asking, and the taxi driver threw a fit. ‘But you don’t understand what I’ve been through,’ I told him. ‘I’m going to smoke this cigarette!”

Navy Sail

Navy SailNavy SailNavy SailThree people showed up for a sailing lesson and got a civics lesson instead. We welcomed the USS Gravely as it churned up the York River to the Naval Weapons Station. A York County Fire & Rescue boat saluted with a water plume from the onboard hose. The photo misses the plume as they quickly went back to training. The bridge opened 10 minutes early, perhaps to test for jamming. It backed up traffic a half-mile, I’m sure. Overhead as we passed under the Coleman Bridge, men worked on the superstructure. We waved, but they merely looked down as if to say Meh.

Rainy Sail

An Ohio couple drove up from the Virginia Beach waterfront to sail on a cloudy day and to absorb the 1782 history tour. Alysia Roush is a retail pharmacist, and she advised me informally on an expensive drug I’m taking. I was surprised she knew the name.

Rainy Sail“We have to know 200 by name to graduate, and by now I must know 300 drugs by name.” I asked why anyone would be prescribed Fentanyl since it’s so lethal. “It’s used in pain patches in very low doses of 50 micrograms.” Then how does it wind up on the street? “Drug dealers use it to lace other drugs, and they often don’t clean off the residue in the drug press while changing out narcotics. So the tiny residue gets mixed in and can be fatal.”

It started to rain, so we headed back and issued a refund. Learn something new every day.


Sailboat Names

Every now and then, someone comes up with a unique name, as happened when Dave Constant took his family sailing in a light breeze.  I mentioned the gag at Jamestown where a couple misidentified the three ships as the Nina, Pinta and Santa Fe, conflating Columbus’s ships with the Midwest railroad Acheson, Topeka & Santa Fe. Dave said his sister was named Susan for the Susan Constant ship at Jamestown. Good thing it wasn’t named Rumpelstiltskin. 

Let’s Go Sail

Check rates and pick a day for a sailboat charter. Scroll down reviews on Trip Advisor. Go back to the home page of Williamsburg Charter Sails. 


The best Williamsburg boat tour offers safe “social distance sailing” daily for up to 6 people. It’s an extraordinary experience for couples. Leave your worries behind. Enjoy the thrill of moving with the wind without a care in the world. Put life back on an even keel with a romantic experience for a birthday or anniversary. 3-hour sailboat cruise as a semi-private yachting charter lets you exhale and relax as you enjoy comfort, stability and speed.

Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins

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